Food safety — safe packaging
Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 — materials and articles intended to come into contact with food
WHAT DOES THIS REGULATION DO?
It lays down common rules for packaging materials and articles such as bottles and containers, which come, or may come, into contact with food, either directly or indirectly.
It seeks to protect human health and consumers’ interests as well as ensure that the products used may be sold anywhere in the European Economic Area – an area comprising the 28 EU countries (1), Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway in which there is free movement of persons, goods, services and capital.
The legislation identifies 17 groups of materials and articles, ranging from cork and glass to plastic and textiles, where specific measures may be adopted.
These may include measures such as purity standards and a list of the substances used.
An application for the use of a new substance must be submitted to the relevant national authority which then forwards it to the European Food Safety Authority for its opinion.
Materials used for packaging must be identified as ‘for food contact’ and accompanied by a suitable logo such as a coffee machine, wine bottle or soup spoon.
Traceability measures must be in place to make it possible to recall any defective products or provide the public with specific information.
National authorities may suspend the use of a particular material if detailed grounds emerge that it might endanger human health. They immediately inform the European Commission and their counterparts in all European Economic Area countries of their decision.
The rules authorise the use of ‘active’ and ‘intelligent’ packaging, which can extend the shelf-life of food and give information on its freshness, provided it does not adversely affect its composition.
The rules do not apply to antique materials (e.g. antique ceramic pots) and articles or coatings, such as cheese rind, prepared meat products or fruit, which form part of the food or may be eaten with it.
FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?
It entered into force on 3 December 2004.
See chemical safety of food on the European Commission's website.
Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and repealing Directives 80/590/EEC and 89/109/EEC (OJ L 338, 13.11.2004, pp. 4-17)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
last update 03.02.2016